From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search


talk page structure[edit]

As a general rule:

  • Use colons to indent responses (one colon equals a short tab in wikitext). e.g.
  • outdent (make text flush left) when you are starting a new thought (loosely put). you can also outdent when things get too cramped on the right, but then use the {{od}} template to show that you've done that.
  • make sure that quotes are highlighted effectively, so that people can easily distinguish between what you're saying and what you're pointing to. use italics or<blockquote>...</blockquote> blocks to do this. there are also some more high-toned quotation box templates if you need them.
  • Try to keep talk as linear as possible - the more you intersperse comments, the less sense it will make to later readers.
  • Templates can be found (mostly) at wp:templates
  • The {{tl}} template creates a link to the named template page.

Work on guidelines[edit]

I spent some time in 2010 working on clarifying the "Fringe theories" editorial guideline. I got into this because I saw some editors blocking citation of what they called "fringe authors" and "fringe publishers". By their lights, any source that writes about a marginalized topic or publishes such writing is thereby itself tainted as 'fringe'. They did not notice the circularity of their logic (or maybe did but didn't care).

Since then, looking over discussion pages, I've seen a great deal of needless vituperation and edit warring around the pejorative uses of Fringe. More temperate editors say that the word "fringe" means peripheral or marginal, and that the pejorative senses "extreme" and "lunatic" are not intended and are not appropriate in Wikipedia.

However, the definition of fringe in the RH dictionary is

something regarded as peripheral, marginal, secondary, or extreme in relation to something else: the lunatic fringe of a strong political party.

Secondary means subordinate in some recognized way. Unless the tail is trying to wag the dog (WP:UNDUE), merely subordinate topics would be uncontroversial, and not Fringe. So we're not dealing with the entire meaning of "fringe" here. Taking out the "secondary" and "subordinate" senses, what's left in the scope of the definition of "fringe" is peripheral, marginal, or extreme. Extreme is the part that raises people's passions. I proposed that we jettison these two parts of the meaning of the word "fringe", the irrelevant part and the troublemaking part, and I suggested that the guideline should talk about peripheral or marginal theories as peripheral or marginal theories, and leave name-calling like extreme (or "lunatic" as in dictionary's example) out of our editorial guidelines.

We can't be like Humpty Dumpty and make words mean whatever we please.

Bn (talk) 14:46, 29 August 2010 (UTC)

Doing so, we might find ourselves in hot cockalorum: Bn (talk) 21:35, 30 August 2010 (UTC)

A related error that I see too often is to confuse Notability (whose scope is an article as a whole) with Undue Weight (whose scope is material within an article). Bn (talk) 00:01, 1 August 2015 (UTC)

Haven't had occasion to poke into the Fringe guideline in years. I see that the cleanup of the nutshell and intro paragraphs remains intact.
In the interim, I've just made typical Wikipedian edits, ranging from extensive work on topics that I know quite well to copy edits and typos encountered in the course of using Wikipedia.
Bn (talk) 22:19, 28 July 2014 (UTC)